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Old 28th January 2010, 02:19 PM   #1
Darko&Maria
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Default How long do you need to rent an apartment?

Hello.
Can someone please give me advice how long does it take to finish all formalities when renting a flat/apartment?
With my gf we have been following real estate websites, and if you do your homework before arriving in Spain, you make a shortlist of adverts, with contact details etc, how long does it take to finish it off?
Our goal is of course to minimize the stay in a hotel (expensive) but you still need to allow enough days to finish the procedure.

Also, would a private owner usually sign rental contract or they try to avoid it because of what ever reason? If you find a flat you like and the price is OK, but the owner doesn't want to sign a contract, how risky is that from legal point of view? Should you just walk away? Or the owners are interested in signing a contract for their own protection too?

If the advert is from an agency, I assume a contract is quite normal. Also, with little Spanish when arriving, is it better to deal with an agency as opposed to private owner, language wise? Would a gestor or similar help with the contract, are there any standard templates or something like that? Maybe even something we can print before travelling.

Sorry about the many questions, you know how it is when arriving in new country. We appreciate any advice and suggestion. Thanks.

PS. Another question. Unless the advert says that the flat is available from particular date, does it usually mean you can move in right away?
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Old 28th January 2010, 04:33 PM   #2
Legazpi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darko&Maria View Post
Hello.
Can someone please give me advice how long does it take to finish all formalities when renting a flat/apartment?
With my gf we have been following real estate websites, and if you do your homework before arriving in Spain, you make a shortlist of adverts, with contact details etc, how long does it take to finish it off?
Our goal is of course to minimize the stay in a hotel (expensive) but you still need to allow enough days to finish the procedure.

Also, would a private owner usually sign rental contract or they try to avoid it because of what ever reason? If you find a flat you like and the price is OK, but the owner doesn't want to sign a contract, how risky is that from legal point of view? Should you just walk away? Or the owners are interested in signing a contract for their own protection too?

If the advert is from an agency, I assume a contract is quite normal. Also, with little Spanish when arriving, is it better to deal with an agency as opposed to private owner, language wise? Would a gestor or similar help with the contract, are there any standard templates or something like that? Maybe even something we can print before travelling.

Sorry about the many questions, you know how it is when arriving in new country. We appreciate any advice and suggestion. Thanks.

PS. Another question. Unless the advert says that the flat is available from particular date, does it usually mean you can move in right away?
Which part of Spain are you heading to? I've never rented myself, but I might be able to give a few pointers if you're coming to Madrid. I wouldn't particularly go with a rental agent because I get the impression they're pretty useless and un-regulated here. I also get the impression that there are people desperate to rent out properties, so it shouldn't be too difficult.
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Old 28th January 2010, 04:56 PM   #3
Darko&Maria
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Actually a small town in Tarragona province, Calafell. At least that's our wish, circumstances might change but we are pretty determined to check this town out first.
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Old 28th January 2010, 07:53 PM   #4
greytop
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Hi D&M - have a look at the expatica site for this and many other useful tips. I think many of the problems are to do with the law that if you stay for 13 months the landlord can't get you out until 5 years have passed. So a contract is advisable if you want a long term rental or he wants you to get out after a short term.
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Old 28th January 2010, 09:24 PM   #5
Darko&Maria
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Thank you. Here is my opinion, but take into account that I've never been to Spain yet:

Agent advert
Biggest Con: Usually you would pay the agent one month rent, which depending on the rent amount is not insignificant.
Biggest Pro: I would expect an agent to have at least one reasonably good English speaking employee (hopefully). So discussing all aspects and getting a contract in English should be no problem.

Private advert
Biggest Con: The owner might not feel comfortable signing a contract in English, and we are not comfortable with Spanish because we won't understand it fully.
Biggest Pro: No need to pay an agent. We really like some flats that are advertised only by the owners, no possibility to find them through an agent.

If I'm wrong about something, please feel free to correct me. Also we are very interested to hear ideas how to overcome the language barrier, that might prove biggest step forward.
I'm also surprised to hear agents being useless. Anyone else from experience?

About the length of stay. Since this is our first visit, we really can't commit at this point. The initial contract that we consider ideal is probably 6 months. As long as it has one month notice clause, we are OK with that and we hope any owner would be too. Even if he/she tries to kick us out before the 6 months, with a one month notice shouldn't be too bad.
On the other hand, maybe we would like to change flat/town ourselves and because of that committing to a longer contract right from the start sounds too early for us.
After the initial 6 months, then a longer contract can be discussed for the same flat or another.
Are we wrong with this approach?

Last edited by Darko&Maria; 28th January 2010 at 09:27 PM.
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Old 28th January 2010, 11:19 PM   #6
Pippa
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This may be different around Spain, but I think the contracts are of two kinds;

One year and then renewable. Both times I have rented a flat I tried to argue at first for 6m but could not find any. (in Madrid and S. Lorenzo) I have had one flat rented privately and one with an agent.

In places in the coast they sometimes rent the winter to students and in the summer much more expensively for holiday makers. (Seen this in Santander)

I am not sure you find that the contracts would be done in English. Being a legal document it would have to be done in one of the official languages (Spanish or Catalan in your case)

If you go with an agent you have to pay the agent one month and give one month deposit that will be given back to you when you finish your contract minus any outstanding bills or damages.

If you do it privately you would have to give one month deposit and I have seen sometimes up to three months deposit or you have to get an "aval" from the bank, which is a security of certain amount of money that the bank holds back from you.

One big pro with the agent is that if you have any problems with the flat, they tend to sort it out more efficiently than privately and do not have to get into direct discussions with the landlord.
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Old 28th January 2010, 11:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darko&Maria View Post
Also, would a private owner usually sign rental contract or they try to avoid it because of what ever reason? If you find a flat you like and the price is OK, but the owner doesn't want to sign a contract, how risky is that from legal point of view? Should you just walk away? Or the owners are interested in signing a contract for their own protection too?
I should think they would not allow you in unless you have signed a contract otherwise you can squat in the flat and then he/she may have problems to get you out. (not that you would do, of course. )
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Old 29th January 2010, 03:49 PM   #8
Darko&Maria
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In case we decide to go with private advert, is there any person/office that can help bridge the language difference? Of course we intend to learn Spanish soon but the flat will need to be rented ASAP after arrival.
Do gestors or anyone else help with bilingual contracts? Any options?
Of course, we are not against a contract in Spanish, as long as it has English translation for us to fully understand.
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Old 29th January 2010, 04:17 PM   #9
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Many language teachers and translators offer a service to assist you with this sort of problem. Attending the doctor for example. Round here I think they charge around 30€ an hour. The gestor may also help in this way and may work out cheaper if you are using him for other things.
Just getting a contract translated (in a hurry as you'll not want to lose the flat) could cost you quite a lot. I paid 70€ some years ago for one document to be ready the next day.
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